Hello, my friends. I’m back—ecco mi qua—after a weeklong trip to the U.S. plus six days (yes, it takes me that long!) to recuperate from jet lag and re-emersion into the rhythms of life with children-in-school. And what better way to nestle in and readjust then to hit a food fair on a cold, October Sunday? The excuse for the event was the ever-important Grape, but Italian edibles of every description were on hand along with music and abundant allegria. The “prize” of the day, however, goes to the young man who made mozzarella right before our hungry eyes. Here’s how you do it:
1. Advertise: Forget expensive creative teams. Chalk and a blackboard will do.
2. Check your credentials. Key word: “Pugliese”
3. Plop the curd into the bowl (the product of milk and caglio or rennet).
4. Break up the curd vigorously into small shreds.
5. Add salt. Just enough.
6. Add boiling water.
7. Stir with wooden paddle. It’s a steamy job but someone’s gotta do it.
8. Occasionally test the ever-changing consistency of the cheese. Stir, pull, stir, pull.
9. Adjust the hot water, ladling out some old, and pouring in some new.
10. Getting there…
11. Yep. There.
12. Make your first “pallone” (big ball).
13. Dunk it in clean, cold water and deftly shape it…giving just the right pinch…
14. …pulling off its dimpled sederino (little rear end) and leaving, well, voilà!
15. There you have it…fresh and ready for sale, bagged in its own salty, milky water.
16. All accompanied by the merry tunes of an Italian marching band.